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The magical and mystical Gandaberunda

The Gandaberunda also known as `Berunda' or `Iruthalaipakshi' is a mythical two-headed eagle. One of the most stunning designs in heritage Indian jewellery this motif has been associated with empire, power and dominion from ancient times.

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Historically Speaking ...

Considered  an emblem of victory the imagery of two-headed eagles has been present for millennia in various civilisations of the world. This motif has a hoary association with all things royal. It was used by the  Roman/ Byzantine empire in ancient times and later by Serbia & Russia .

In India its first usage was in the mints for making coins during the period of Vijayanagar empire around 1510. Later it was used as the emblem of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mysore under the Wodeyar kings.

Today the Gandabherunda is the official state emblem of Karnataka. In continuous usage for 500 yrs as a royal emblem, this motif has a special place in the history of Karnataka. Recently it celebrated the 500th year of its existence as a royal symbol.

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In Indian Mythology ...

The Gandaberunda is an incarnation of  Narasimha (the Man-Lion form taken by Vishnu). After Narasimha had slain the demon Hiranyakashipu, he clung on to his dreadful form. Seeing this Shiva incarnated himself as Veerabhadra Rudra and Kala Bhairava but this was not enough to defeat Narasimha, then Shiva transformed himself into Sharabha (part-lion and part-bird beast).

That enraged Narasimha, the lion who transformed himself into Gandaberunda— with two heads, a fearful row of teeth, black complexion and wide blazing wings. Gandaberunda fought  Sharabha for eighteen days but was finally killed.

 

    Seen above `The Gandaberunda Silver Necklace'

The Gandaberunda and its physical form...

This two-headed mythological bird, thought to possess immense magical strength is believed to be capable of fighting the forces of destruction. The bird is generally depicted as clutching elephants in its talons and beaks, demonstrating its immense strength. In some cases it is shown holding a snake in its beak. while most depictions show a symmetrical image similar to the double-headed eagle some images show it with long tail feathers resembling a peacock.

Popular in Indian sculpture ,textiles and jewellery the Gandaberunda appears as an intricately carved sculpture motif in Hindu temples. At the Chennakeshava temple of Belur in Karnataka (India) the Gandaberunda is carved in stone as part of a scene of "chain of destruction".

Another sculpture depicting a Gandaberunda is found on the roof of the Rameshwara temple in Keladi (Shimoga District,Karnataka) the capital of the Keladi Nayakas.

The motif is also found in Indian textiles, seen in sarees on the body and pallu. In the Kanjivaram, especially where it is seen often this motif takes on a regal splendour, woven in rich gold zari or coloured silken yarn.

 

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Another notable feature of the Gandaberunda is that it is a unisex motif worn by men as well as women. Due to its association with strength it was worn by kings .This particular pendant seen in the image above is an exact replica of a gold pendant from the collection of Sri Krishna Raja Wodeyar, Maharaja of Mysore.

Experience royal indulgence with KO's Gandaberunda motif  jewellery .See our exquisite & bespoke collection of handcrafted heritage silver jewellery carrying this motif here, in our dedicated collection. 

 

- Priya Revankar

 

 

 


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